Sir Peter Jackson has lent his private jet to help on the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. “The Hobbit” filmmaker’s Gulfstream G650 is among the civilian aircraft searching for the missing plane.
The Kiwi director bought the private jet for $80 million in 2013. Air Commodore Kevin McEvoy of the Royal New Zealand Air Force said that the jet is one of the five civilian aircrafts that are assisting in the search for MH370.
“Basically, they’re trying to do a combination of coordinating the aircraft that are there in the search, and the Gulfstream will be probably providing a communications realy,” Mr McEvoy was quoted by the New Zealand Herald as saying.
“With the distances that are prevalent, it’s around 1000 nautical miles [1852km] to the search area, some of the aircraft won’t have communications over a long distance.”
The Gulfstream would likely patrol in the search area at a far higher altitude than the aircraft that is searching. Although New Zealand’s own recently upgraded P3 Orion has satellite communications and do not require communications relay, some of the other aircrafts involved in the search don’t have the same communication systems.
The New Zealand Defence Force is not funding the use of Mr Jackson’s jet for the search.
The Academy Award-winning filmmaker’s rep would not say whether he was offered remuneration for the use of his G650, or if he offered for its use or it was requested of him.
“Peter would not seek publicity for something like this and would actively avoid it in fact,” his spokesman, Matt Dravitzki, said.
“A lot of civilian and military aircraft are involved in the search and it’s kind of disappointing that because one is owned by a celebrity it becomes a matter of news when there are [over] 200 people missing.”
The MH370 was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 onboard on March 8 when it vanished. After weeks of endless searching for the plane, authorities now believe that it had crashed somewhere in the Southern Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia.